What were you doing a year ago today? Do you remember? As for me, September 20 2012 is firmly imprinted in my memory. I remember cleaning off shelving units in the back room of the new Stafford Mercantile, waiting for the delivery truck to come so I could escape the nasty cleaning fluids and help the men haul merchandise in on pallets that were loaded higher than the doorway they needed to come through. (I also remember hitting the metal pallet-jack against a metal doorway to make sparks on the way back out to get another pallet…that probably wasn’t a very good idea.) I remember wrestling with a pallet that kept breaking, and watching my dad stop to answer his phone. I remember not even noticing when my parents disappeared and being completely clueless until Erica told me what had happened. “Calista, Noelle’s been in a wreck. Mommy and Daddy are going to the hospital now.” Fifteen words that changed my life forever. Oh yes, I remember very well.
When something like Noelle’s wreck happens, people immediately think of it as a bad thing. Because, obviously, someone’s life is hanging in the balance, and everybody is upset and emotional about everything. And our normal lives have been disrupted for what at least looks like it will be forever. I thought it was a bad thing too at first, because all my emotions were blinding me to everything else. And they blinded me to the reality behind it all. Consider this line from a song…
“I may not see in front of me, but I can see for miles when I look over my shoulder. And Lord it’s clear, You’ve brought me here so faithful every step of the way.” ~ I am Found in You, Steven Curtis Chapman
I couldn’t see in front of me then. (Nor can I now, to be honest.) During the first two weeks after Noelle’s wreck, we couldn’t even plan anything more than twenty-four hours ahead of time. (No, I’m not exaggerating either.) The only thing to do was to trust God. And as time went on, and I looked over my shoulder, I understood something for the first time… ‘Bad things’ aren’t actually bad.
*Gasp* Did I really say that? Yes indeedy. Whatever happened to this verse?
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28
Yes, the wreck has worked for good in all our lives. And looking back, I’ve seen God’s mercy and grace in a million different ways. I would not go back now and undo it for anything. (Despite the fact that it sounds bad since my sister got a brain injury out of the deal. I don’t think she’d undo it either though, in my defense.) Speaking for myself, it was incredibly life-changing. When I remember how confused and lost I was only a year ago, I can say this with complete certainty. I learned more in those first two weeks after the wreck than I had in the last two years. Here’s a little ditty that ended up appearing out of my head then:
I can’t always see
What You’re planning for me,
And I know I don’t trust like I should.
You are good!
I guess that just about sums it up. *Smiles* And you know, if our God is good, then everything that He lets us go through is good too. It’s changing us and making us more like Him. So I don’t believe that God lets bad things happen to good people (that is, I’m referring to those who put their trust in Him). I believe that good people just can’t always see that things are good until after it happens and they have a chance to look back and see God’s leading. For me, I’m blown away by all the circumstances surrounding Noelle’s wreck that floored me then with how bad they seemed, and yet now have turned out to be the best things that ever happened to us. God is so good!
I know there will be many more monumental “One Year Ago” milestones in the future; new huge events that will challenge me in ways I can’t even imagine now. But it’s kind of hard to be afraid of them now. It’s hard to be afraid of them after feeling God’s amazing peace, and watching His hand working right before my eyes. It’s hard to dread them after seeing how even Noelle’s car wreck has turned out to be such a good thing. It’s hard to worry when I know what it feels like to be right in the middle of a river of power flowing from the very Creator of the universe. And just think! The One with the power to breathe millions of stars and galaxies into existence is the same One who holds my future. I think it’s safe in His hands.